It is challenging to make certain predictions, given the pandemic’s continuing effects. There is still time for expectation and planning, though. Many big steam enthusiasts have planned upcoming journeys and outings to feel the excitement of these majestic engines. It is crucial to remember that steam providers are trying to stop the virus from spreading; therefore, there could only be a few events this year. Nevertheless, the circumstances may improve in the second half of the year due to the growing accessibility of masks and vaccinations, providing more opportunities to participate in large-scale steam activities.
1. 4014/844 Union Pacific
Both or one of the powerful locomotives from UP are prepared to move. Fans have expressed gratitude for the Golden Spike Sesquicentennial tours by Big Boy 4-8-8-4 No. 4014 and Eternal Legend 4-8-4 No. 844. Without them, none of this would have happened. It’s been said many fans skipped 2019 because they thought it would be too crowded and wild, and they say they wish they had gone because they got no UP steam activity in the coming days. There is a tremendous degree of optimism that, if the pandemic can be contained, UP steam will burnish the rails.
2. Northern Reading 2102
The large home-built T-hog was put through its paces in January, and R & N leadership is keen to finish the engine’s final adjustments and launch the large 4-8-4 for the first time in thirty-nine years. R&N discovered ways to continue operating socially isolating and lengthy train set excursions in coming years; therefore, the Road of Anthracite might be one of the hotspots for Big Steam this year that you can ride and chase.
3. Santa Fe 2926.
When the epidemic struck in 2020, the large 4-8-4 was prepared to fire up and travel for the first time. The Albuquerque-based team will wait until the COVID-19 rules are lifted because New Mexico has rigorously enforced them, and they know they have a large following of fans who want to be present for that first move. Other than finishing the tool car, it could be time to take a road trip to the southwest to see the first AT&SF 2900-class locomotive run under steam in the preservation era.
4. The Southern Railway 4501 of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
The popular Mikado will return for excursions to northern Georgia. The 2-8-2 ’01 has been exciting people for the past fifty-five years and has never lost any of her allure. This is the year to experience a classic if you haven’t treated yourselves to one of TVRM’s day-long north Georgia excursions. The timetable isn’t yet to be available on tvrail.com, but seize the opportunity!
5. 611 Norfolk & Western
This winter, the Class J 4-8-4 locomotive had tender axle maintenance at its temporary residence, the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina. Soon, more on that. Once more, if circumstances change for the better, I anticipate the J running at Spencer.